Pineapple exports from the Reunion Island have doubled in 10 years (2,700 tons exported each year to France and Europe), but the sector struggles to grow and to produce its Victoria pineapples in sufficient quantities, mainly due to a lack of labor.
According to Daniel Moreau, head of Royal Bourbon and Arifel (Interprofessional Fruit and Vegetable Association of the Reunion), this number could be doubled in the next decade for the fresh market and multiplied by 3 or 4 for processed products. But the main problem for producers remains labor.
While the sector is faced with a very high demand from national and international markets, producers are struggling to find seasonal workers. “The work is so physically demanding that we cannot find young people. We’ve had some who try but they get tired very quickly. At first, they are motivated and after a week, nothing,” explain Varadane and Julie Patchane Lacane who manage a farm in Tampon.
For Daniel Moreau, one of the solutions would be to mechanize the farms in order to make up for the lack of labor and improve working conditions.
Photo: © Loïs Mussard